Okay, so you’ve got your email list, prospective and previous clients and customers, and you’re doing your gut level best to stay in touch with them and continue providing information, schmoozing, wooing…the cyber equivalent of wining and dining to try and get them back to your table more often. You tend not to question what works, but sometimes you do find yourself looking at the list and wondering why so much of it looks like the proverbial brick wall that you keep banging your head against with no result.
Recent research has proven that the longer a subscriber is on a mailing list, the less likely they are to engage the company whose list it is. The flip side of that is that it is often easier to turn an existing customer into a repeat customer than it is to draw in a new customer. Which would you rather do?
Folks that you are already engaged with remain your best prospects; the trick is to avoid becoming old or stale or boring, which can be extremely difficult in the average email marketing relationship. The ideal approach is to set up an email communication campaign that delivers a series of messages at given times and sends other, more targeted messages to a specific group or segment of your list. That segment may be broken down by gender, age, geographical location, previous buying habits, or some combination of these.
The time that a subscriber will be most engaged with your emails is right after they sign up, because they are excited about what you are doing and obviously interested enough to want to learn more. With that in mind:
Always send a welcome email, just a short note welcoming them to the family and introducing them to important and vital areas of your site. Make sure there is contact information, preferably with a real person, that they can go to if they have questions or concerns.
Offer a deal. Send them a coupon (or coupons) for items targeting their interests, or offer special deals for email subscribers. You’ll be surprised at the extra revenue you are able to generate.
Tell your story. People love hearing about success stories. Share how your company got started, as well as your vision for the future. Make them want to engage with you on a regular basis.
After a month or so, you’re probably dealing with someone who has made at least one purchase, so you should start going after that second sale. Send them a cross sell email, highlighting an accessory or companion piece to the item they have already bought. You can offer it at a discount or just talk up why they should purchase this product. If the item they purchased can be upgraded, try to persuade them to do so.
If there are new things afoot in your industry, make news out of it. Industry revolutions can often spur additional interest in your product or service, so take full advantage of it.
Once someone has been on your list for several months, their life cycle as a subscriber may be winding down. During this time you might want to send polls and surveys to help involve them again, as well as gather information about what is and is not working for you. You can adapt strategy based on results.
Ask for referrals. A personal word will always carry more weight than the most effective ad campaign. See if you can get a testimonial or review out of them. You can also play up social media outlets as a means of engagement. I have had people unsubscribe from my email list only to show up later on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. You never know when or where you’ll see these people again. Doing this is easy, just add a line or so in the postscript asking folks to follow you on whatever social platform you are using.
Recognize that things do change over time, and this includes the level of participation from your email subscriber list. Take the time to be prepared in every phase of the subscriber’s online life cycle.